Canary Islands Parliament backs the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes

Canary Islands Parliament backs the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes

The Parliament of the Canary Islands has approved a Non-Legislative Proposal (PNL) supporting the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. This initiative aims to further the development and establishment of the medicinal cannabis industry in the Canary Islands, advocating for the recognition of its active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

The proposal also urges the Canary Islands Government to request that the Spanish Government adhere to the recommendations of the Health and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee regarding the regulation of cannabis APIs for pharmaceutical use. It encourages scientific research and proposes the archipelago as a hub for the industry’s development.

Raúl Acosta, the spokesperson for Grupo Mixta and defender of the proposal, emphasised the arguments in favour of a decisive push for the cultivation and exploitation of medicinal cannabis in the Canary Islands. He said that this initiative could diversify the local economy, create synergies across various sectors, and offer alternatives to declining traditional agricultural practices.

Acosta pointed out that the primary sector in the Canary Islands could be closely linked to pharmaceutical and botanical research in a highly attractive circular economy model. Besides the medicinal flowers, the entire plant could be used for bioconstruction materials, paper, and even plastic alternatives.

The region’s favourable climate allows for outdoor cannabis cultivation, ensuring higher quality APIs for pharmaceutical use and potentially yielding up to six annual harvests per hectare, surpassing the average production in other regions.

Cristina Calero from the Canarian Nationalist Group highlighted that the medicinal use of cannabis dates back over 5,000 years, voting in favour of enhanced research through facilities like the Hospital Universitario de Canarias (HUC) and the Canary Institute of Agricultural Research (ICIA).

Mónica Muñoz from the PP party highlighted that cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids, with THC and CBD being particularly beneficial for improving the quality of life for patients with various ailments. Ignoring these benefits contradicts the majority of the scientific community, which supports cannabis for alleviating chronic and neuropathic pain.

ASG deputy Melodie Mendoza endorsed the PNL, emphasising the dual positive effects of cannabinoids. Yone Caraballo from NC-BC praised the proposal for its potential to produce effective non-addictive pain medications and promote the primary sector in the islands.

PSOE deputy Tamara Raya supported the initiative, stating that regulation is preferable to the current lack of sanitary and economic control over these products, and stressing that cannabis use extends beyond recreational smoking.

Finally, Marta Gómez justified Vox’s opposition, the only party against it, by referencing a similar proposal rejected in 2022 by their party in the Spanish Congress, maintaining consistency with their stance.